Mark Fosson : “best demo tape I’ve heard since Kottke” ~ John Fahey


Mark Fosson is an American singer-songwriter and American Primitive guitarist who grew up in Kentucky, where he began writing songs while he was still in his early teens. In the late 1970s he sent a demo tape to John Fahey’s West Coast-based Takoma Records. Fahey, impressed with what he heard, offered Fosson a recording deal.

Fosson lost no time in relocating to Los Angeles and began recording, but Takoma was in some financial difficulty and the label soon folded. Fortunately for Fosson, Fahey allowed him to keep the master tapes of the sessions.

Fosson employs drones in his playing but not with the lower strings (as Fahey did) but with the higher range of his picking pattern. Thus the center of gravity in his play shifts. Droning at with the high strings also allows him to riff more than many in the “AmPriv” school.

Whle Fosson is technically a very accomplished guitarist, but that is not all that is going here: Fosson is also a purely American-sounding player. The raga, drone, and noise aspects that almost inevitably make their way into many AmPriv solo players’ repertoire are largely hardly evident in Fosson’s playing.

On June 26, 2012, Tompkins Square released Digging In The Dust, a collection of early home recordings which led to Fosson’s signing to Takoma Records. In May 2015 he released kY on Bandcamp, a collection of instrumentals inspired by his time growing up in Kentucky. July 2017 saw the release of his most recent album, Solo Guitar on Drag City Records.

The Bum Steers – Western Beat Records, 1995
Live At Cafe Voltaire – The Bum Steers – Voltaire Records, 1996
The Lost Takoma Sessions – Drag City Records, 2006
Jesus On A Greyhound – Big Otis Records, 2007
Imaginational Anthem Volume 3 – Tompkins Square Records, 2008
Hillbilly Hucklebuck – The Bum Steers – Western Beat Records, 2008
Digging In The Dust – Tompkins Square Records, 2012
kY – Big Otis Records, 2015
Solo Guitar – Drag City Records, 2017

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